Vasectomy reversal refers to a surgical procedure designed to restore fertility to men who have undergone a prior vasectomy sterilization procedure. Different techniques for vasectomy are performed, however, virtually all involve blockage of the vas deferens tubes in the scrotum to prevent the flow of sperm from the testicle into the urethra. Vasectomy reversal is a commonly inquired-about procedure but is not appropriate for all men. Special considerations include the time since the vasectomy, the age of the partner, and other medical conditions that may interfere with the repair.
For men who are considered appropriate for the procedure, it is performed on an outpatient basis, can take anywhere from two to three hours and often requires the use of specialized instruments. These can include an operating room microscope and, in some cases, a robotic surgical system. Incisions are made in the scrotum to gain access to the vas deferens. The two ends of each vas are identified and reconnected using stitches that are thinner than a human hair. A successful vasectomy reversal will result in having moving sperm in the ejaculate.
Factors that can negatively impact a successful vasectomy reversal include a long time since the vasectomy (generally considered greater than seven years) and age of the man. Reblocking of the vas deferens is a common complication of the procedure and in some studies is as high as 50% after one year. For this reason, it is important that sperm be collected and frozen at the time of the vasectomy reversal and we offer that service at no additional surgical charge, although additional fees for sperm storage will be incurred.
On occasion, the procedure renders unsuccessful and must be repeated. Overall vasectomy reversal leads to pregnancy in about 50% of couples. After the procedure, the vas deferens can get blocked again about 50% of the time after 1 year.
Possible Complications include:
- Bleeding within the scrotum.
- Infection at the surgery site.
- Damage to nerves and blood vessels, possibly hindering fertility.
- Blockage of the vas deferens occurs in 1/2 of patients after one year from the development of scar tissue.
- Blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis).
Please observe the following Pre-Operative Guidelines:
- You should stop the following medications one week prior to surgery: aspirin (ASA), NSAIDs (Motrin, Advil, ibuprofen), Coumadin, Lovenox, Celebrex, and Plavix. Please contact us if you are unsure about which medications to stop, and do not stop any medication without contacting your prescribing physician.
- Have nothing by mouth after midnight the night prior to your procedure unless otherwise instructed by the anesthesiologist.
- There are no restrictions on sexual activity prior to surgery.